Sep 2, 2020

The impact your kind support is having

James with some of his family
James with some of his family

Hello,

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well.

Since March, thanks to your kindness, we have been supporting 156 vulnerable family members with emergency support to provide food, hygiene products and for some families we’ve been paying their rent to prevent them becoming homeless. The restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 meant many of the families of reintegrated children have lost their only income, with schools closed the childen are at home all day and are in dire need of support.  We’ve been speaking to all of the families and children on weekly phone calls to assess their needs and to provide counselling and advice to support them through this worrying time.

As restrictions have eased slightly, last week we held some social distanced training sessions on financial literacy and business skills. We are working with the families of the reintegrated children to support them to set up their own small businesses so they can become financially independent and support their children with basic needs, healthcare and school fees. Unemployment levels are set to rise significantly, particularly in rural areas and slum communities, so it’s even more important that the families can have a means of earning their own money to support their children.

We are acutely aware that many of these children were in children’s homes because their families had to make the agonising decision because they couldn’t afford to look after them. We are doing everything possible to support the families and make sure that poverty doesn’t separate a family again, and we can only do this thanks to your generous support. Many funders are closing their doors to international charities so we are incredibly grateful for your generosity, and for standing by us at such a difficult time.  

Here are some updates from some of the families you have supported.

James 

James and his family live in one of the slum areas of Nairobi county and are part of our Family Strengthening Programme. He is a casual driver with a transport company that closed down after the government imposed the country-wide lockdown. He is the breadwinner of the family as his wife cares for their four children, the family depended on him to provide for their daily needs. He says; “after I lost my job, I was so worried and stressed to a point I had to leave the house in the morning to avoid confrontation with the mother of my children because Covid-19 had turned our lives upside down and I didn’t know what we were going to do, I was desperate. My family had a very difficult time to cope with the changes we were forced to make and I had run out of money.” James tried all means to get a casual job but there just aren’t any available at the moment. 

When he received the first emergency cash transfer, he said that he was overcome by emotion as they were about to be evicted from the house they were renting and he had no money for food. He said; “the support that I received came at the time when I had reached the end of the road and I was in dire need. I would like to give a big thank you to donors who have generously supported the Covid- 19 emergency response.” James says he budgets carefully to ensure that they have enough money to take them through the month. He is now able to pay rent, utility bills and buy enough food for the family.

Beatrice 

Beatrice is a grandmother of three girls who she has fostered for the last 13 years.  The three sisters, Mitchell, Dorcas and Florence were abandoned by their mother after suffering from domestic violence and the children were left under the care of their grandparents. 

Beatrice and the family live in a single-roomed house in the Kibera slums.  She is a vegetable vendor and her husband is a night security guard.  Her husband lost his job and the only source of income came from Beatrice’s small business which was at the brink of collapse as she had no money to get more vegetables for sale as the majority of her customers would take the products in credit.  Beatrice says the cash transfer has really helped her to provide daily meals and pay rent.  She says “I am so happy and grateful for all the support that you have given me and my grandchildren all these years.  I would not have been able to provide for them during this difficult time as the business has also been affected.  Thank you for supporting my family”

Thank you once again for standing by us during this difficult time.

Best wishes,
Kirsty Erridge
Director

Beatrice with her 3 granddaughters
Beatrice with her 3 granddaughters
Jul 27, 2020

Supporting the most vulnerable, thanks to you

Judy and her baby, supported by our emergency fund
Judy and her baby, supported by our emergency fund

Hello,

Firstly, on behalf of myself, our team in Kenya and the children, young people and families we have been supporting during the pandemic - may we take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for your support. We appreciate there are many worthy causes so we are incredibly grateful and humbled that you have chosen to support us and stand by us during this worrying time, thank you. 

As some countries are beginning to ease out of lockdown, the impact of lockdown in Kenya is going to continue to have a long lasting effect.  Schools are remaining closed until January where students will repeat a year, school fees are going to increase and many families will still be without a job meaning many children sadly will not return to school. 

Our vocational training centres are allowed to open in September but the simple fact is, the buildings are not big enough to adhere to the social distancing requirements.  We will have to stagger the return of the students meaning that the remote learning, which our fantastic teachers have been providing since March, will have to continue to an extent. We will be able to have half a class back at the centres for practical sessions whilst the other half remain at home and then they will switch. The teachers and Florence, our Seed of Hope vocational training manager, have drawn up a plan of the changes we need to make including; building temporary classrooms, buying extra desks, chairs, hand washing stations, additional equipment so students don’t share anything.  It is going to cost $5,000/ £3,900 to make the necessary changes and adaptations to keep our students safe when they return.

Our teachers are determined to ensure that the students graduate as planned and don’t have to repeat a year. They have been continuing to teach lessons via a mixture of WhatsApp groups, text messages and printed learning packs to ensure no student is left behind. It’s more important than ever that students can learn their trade, graduate and start earning a living to support themselves and their families. Knowing the toll the pandemic and lockdown is taking on everyone’s mental health and wellbeing, our team has been providing weekly counselling sessions by phone to ensure no-one feels alone and that they’re supported through this.

Many families have lost their only source of income as travel restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus have meant that casual labourers have lost their jobs, with no social welfare to support them they had nowhere to turn, no savings and no food. 

Thanks to your generous support, we have been providing emergency food, rent and basic essentials for 358 children, young people and families since March along with counselling. We had anticipated needing to provide this level of support until September but the reality is that many will still have no means of earning an income to support their family so we have committed to stand by them and support them for as long as they need.

We are beginning income generation business training with 30 families in August and providing a small grant to help them set up their own small business, which will hopefully enable them to become financially independent and secure in the coming months. 

There was already a huge demand for our free vocational training courses, the demand is only going to increase in the coming months as Kenya tries to recover from the economic impact of Covid-19, and for families who won’t be able to afford to send their children back to school in January. We know from working in Kenya for 19 years that girls, and the most vulnerable, will always be negatively impacted the most so we are preparing for ways we can increase our support to those who need us most.

It is costing £30/$37 to provide a month of food and essentials for a family of 5 plus an additional £40/$49 for those who need rent support. It is a worrying time for all of the children and families but they know that we will stand by them, thanks to the wonderful support of kind people like you - so we just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for enabling us to be there when we are needed the most.

We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well.

With best wishes,

Kirsty Erridge - Director
kirsty@raisingfutureskenya.org.uk

P.S. Please see some of the families your donation has supported in the photos.

Faith and her family with emergency supplies
Faith and her family with emergency supplies
Rose and her family with their month supplies
Rose and her family with their month supplies
Hannah and her children
Hannah and her children
Josephine and her family with their supplies
Josephine and her family with their supplies
Emma & her siblings with their emergency supplies
Emma & her siblings with their emergency supplies
Jun 3, 2020

A bit of positive news at such a difficult time

The new keyboard is very popular in the music room
The new keyboard is very popular in the music room

Hello,

This is such a strange and difficult time. Many of us are separated from our loved ones, dealing with the uncertainty of Covid-19 and the daily news updates can take its toll on our mental health, we hope you are coping ok. 

Vic and I, and our team in Kenya, want you to know that we're thinking about you. Your support during this challenging time has brought light at a time of darkness and we thank you for continuing to stand by us and these children.

As I’m sure you may expect, the schools in Kenya are closed meaning most of the children we support are at home with their families, two children who don't have any family have remained in school and are being cared for by two teachers. Many of the families we work with have also lost their only source of income due to restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus. 

Thanks to your on-going support, and to our emergency response fund, we have been able to provide emergency support to several families who have lost their income and are struggling to provide for their children. We transferred emergency funds to them via mPesa transfer (a mobile phone currency) to adhere to social distancing rules. This enabled the families to buy a month’s supply of food, soap, hygiene products and cooking fuel. Some families were also at risk of being made homeless because they couldn't pay their rent so we have supported them with that too.

It is costing £30/$37 to provide a month of food and essentials for a family of 5 plus an additional £40/$49 for those who need rent support. It is a worrying time for all of the children and families but they know that we will stand by them now more than ever, thanks to the wonderful support of kind people like you - so we just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for enabling us to be there when we are needed the most.

Some lovely positive news is that when the children return to school they will be able to play on the new playground equipment we installed at the beginning of term and they'll be able to enjoy the new music room which includes a stereo to play music to the children and musical instruments including a keyboard which has been incredibly popular! Play and music equipment is so important for children with special educational needs, particularly the students who have autism as it gives them another sensory means of expressing themselves. We're hoping to provide even more equipment this year.

Work has started on constructing a learning laundry so the children can learn how to wash their clothes, preparing them for a more independent life after school.  We've also finished installing a large greenhouse at one of the schools which will enable them to grow crops which will supplement the breakfast, lunch and dinners for the students - helping to make the school more sustainable.

Thank you once again for standing by us. We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well.

With best wishes,

Kirsty Erridge - Director

kirsty@raisingfutureskenya.org.uk



A learning laundry for students
A learning laundry for students
The new greenhouse for growing crops
The new greenhouse for growing crops
Head teacher showing some of playground equipment
Head teacher showing some of playground equipment
 
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